Black-faced Spoonbill is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List. The 2012 census recorded totals of 2693 birds. The major wintering site of Black-faced Spoonbill is the Tsengwen estuary of Taiwan, where is established a Black-faced Spoonbill reserve to protect the bird species from extinction. To promote further conservation, the manager develops bird-watching tourism to attract tourists, to provide conservation information to those tourists, and to get tourists' support for conservation. Operationalization of ecotourism that promotes the goals of contributing to nature conservation requires that managers of protected areas have information on the tourists’ preferences for ecotourism and the tourism’s attributes and economic potential. However, there is no study about tourism value of Black-faced Spoonbills and about what tourists’ needs. The lack of this information is a major kind of barrier for reserve managers to manage, plan, and develop effective promotion and publicity. In order to make up the gap in management, we conducted this research to collect original data for tourists’ needs.
We used choice experiments, a stated preference valuation method, to assign monetary values to Black-faced Spoonbill bird watching and facilities in the reserve. Compared to other valuation methods (e.g., travel cost and contingent valuation), choice experiments can create hypothetical but realistic scenarios for tourists and generate alternatives for the ecotourism plans. This choice experiment study required tourists to choose their preferred alternative from sets presented to them. These sets are combined with attributes and levels of number of Black-faced Spoonbill, environment, and facilities.
Results of the analysis suggest that there is interest in Black-faced Spoonbills bird watching for tourists. The estimates derived suggested that tourists are willing to pay fees. Tourists may indeed be willing to pay because they value the ecotourism. It is thus worthwhile for reserve manager to look further into providing and pricing of these services.